Plastic pollution poses grave threat to health and nature

Recycling of plastic waste has become more than a necessity

It needs no mentioning that plastic is polluting every corner of the planet. We do not know exactly how long plastic products take to degrade, but we know that once they are in our soil, rivers and oceans, it is impossible to clean up. The plastic we see washing up on shores and floating on the water’s surface is only the tip of the iceberg. 

The scale of plastic pollution has become alarming with millions of tonnes of plastic waste existing almost everywhere posing serious threats to human and animal health and destroying nature as well.

According to Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), the amount of waste generated daily in the areas under the corporation is 2,210 tonnes on average. The daily generated waste in the areas under North City Corporation is about 2,855 tonnes. 

Reportedly, waste volume soars up by 18 percent every year, and polythene and plastic products cover a big part of this huge waste.  Though the production and use of polythene in Bangladesh were banned nearly in 2002, polythene shopping bags still rule the market. 

Necessary steps should be taken to scale up 

plastic waste collection and reinforce recycling 

capacity through investment

The government in 2010 enacted another law in support of the 2002 ban, titled the “Mandatory Jute Packaging Act 2010” for the compulsory use of jute in packaging products instead. Nevertheless, the use of polythene bags and one-time-use plastics is rampant now.

Considering the fact that plastic use is unavoidable, recycling of plastic waste has become more than a necessity. We cannot reduce its use due to its flexibility but we can surely reuse it to minimise its impact on environment.

The fight against plastic pollution is twofold: First we must contain it, and then we must eradicate it. In order to reduce plastic pollution, we all have an essential role to play, from making small lifestyle changes -- such as shopping with reusable bags -- to raising our voices for more progressive and sustainable policies.  Our voices can become an impetus behind public policy decisions.

It is high time to determine concrete targets and devise roadmaps for reducing avoidable plastic use. Necessary steps should be taken to scale up plastic waste collection and reinforce recycling capacity through investment.

We need to conduct awareness campaigns to convince consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and encourage them to move towards healthier and more sustainable ways of living that will benefit their families and their communities.